By Catherine Wagley
By Catherine Wagley
By Wendy Gilmartin
By Jennifer Swann
By Claire de Dobay Rifelj
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Catherine Wagley
By Zachary Pincus-Roth
So for "Plan Your Visit," they commissioned artists and writers who already care about connecting the dots between different L.A. stories and centers — like John Sutherland, who maps skyscrapers in this city known for horizontal sprawl; Maryam Hosseinzadeh, who collaborated with landscape architect Sonia Brenner and often gives neighborhood tours; and former L.A. Weekly (now L.A. Times) food critic Jonathan Gold, whose restaurant reviews, hung around the show in place of wall texts, are known for neighborhood-specific details.
There are things to take as soon as you walk in the door. "We like the idea of people leaving with their arms full," Carfello says. A small pamphlet on the entryway table, colored in soft sunset pink with vintage pinup–style pictures of legs in pantyhose on the cover, invites you to two tea parties — one on March 14 and the other on April 3. The parties will take inspiration from the salons hosted there in the 1930s by Pauline, Schindler's wife. Composer John Cage, who attended when he was just past 20, said the salons effected "organic calm."
835 N. Kings Road
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Then, in the first studio, there are postcards Andrew Berardini (an L.A. Weekly contributor) and Sarah Williams of Art Book Review made of iconic L.A. books, each with the supposedly most-quoted passage on the back, displayed on a narrow shelf leaning against the wall. The card for Charles Bukowski's Hollywood has a martini on the front and on the back says, "Are you becoming what you always hated?" In the next room, you can take a pamphlet on the only skyscraper Schindler designed and never built. Schindler called it Playmart, and it may have been meant for Wilshire Boulevard.
Some works you can't take away with you, like the Untitled Collectives viewfinder slide shows of former MAK Center exhibitions layered one atop another to make minimalist dreamscapes. In Kathrin Burmester's installation in Pauline Schindler's former studio, footage of the exterior of the Kings Road house plays on a white slab while two speakers project Burmester's voice. To make this piece, she culled the archives of projects MAK residents have done since the 1990s, when the center started bringing mostly Central European artists to L.A. for six months to do Schindler-related projects. The German-born Burmester, who came to L.A. in the mid-2000s, describes certain projects — like one in which an artist superimposed the bios of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Schindler and then narrated a story of Schwarzenegger's visit to the house. Burmester took a few accent-reduction classes while making the piece, so if you listen, you can hear her own German accent subtly becoming more and then less "L.A." as she describes the art of past residents. There are no images of the art. "I like the idea that you have to imagine it," Burmester says. "I wanted the focus to be on the idea of traveling through."
The Black Dahlia book Neel assembled based on Crow's thesis is a traveling-through experience, too. It brings the "aloof" midcentury modern experience into contact with a noir-ish Hollywood one, full of LAPD intrigue, communist tendencies and film-star aspirations. There's a quote near the end of the book, from Schindler in 1953: "I built my house and unless I failed, it should be as Californian as the Parthenon is Greek and the Forum Roman."
In a funny way, this show, which uses Schindler's work as a starting point and then spins out into the world of L.A. at large, suggests that this quote is true, though it's maybe not the way Schindler imagined.
PLAN YOUR VISIT | MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House | 835 N. Kings Road, W. Hlywd. | Through April 7 | makcenter.org
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